Guide for Tapering Off Suboxone

Suboxone is a prescription medication made from a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine, and it is typically used to treat the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal in men and women who are attempting to quit using opioids altogether. When naloxone and buprenorphine are combined, psychological cravings are reduced dramatically, making quitting short-term significantly easier. However, it is important to recognize that while Suboxone is a beneficial part of some comprehensive opioid addiction recovery programs,

Getting Off Suboxone Without Withdrawal

Medication-Assisted Treatment should never serve as a standalone solution. Those who utilize Suboxone mustn’t become dependent on it, which is why simultaneous behavioral therapy is crucial. At Allure Detox, we do sometimes utilize MAT as part of an integrated treatment plan – especially when a client comes to us with a severe opioid abuse disorder, and has experienced numerous relapses at the hands of overwhelming psychological cravings. In very severe cases, MAT might continue through residential treatment, to allow a client to focus more on intensive therapy and other treatment methods.

However, it is also important to note that Suboxone itself can be addictive if taken for a prolonged period, or if taken other than as prescribed in a MAT curriculum. If a client enters into our detox program with a pre-existing Suboxone abuse disorder, we will slowly taper the client off of the drug to avoid complications and provide the most pain-free and physically safe detox experience possible.

Guide for Tapering Off Suboxone

Suboxone Abuse and Addiction

Some of the more common signs and symptoms associated with Suboxone abuse include:

  • A lack of coordination and slurred speech
  • An inability to think clearly
  • Excessive drowsiness/disrupted sleep patterns
  • Lying to medical professionals to get more Suboxone
  • Respiratory depression and other problems related to breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic constipation
  • A lack of motivation and attention paid to activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Loss of appetite, which leads to weight loss
  • Continuing to take Suboxone despite personal consequences
  • Psychological symptoms, like anxiety or depression

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Once an individual who has been abusing Suboxone for an extended period stops using the medication suddenly, he or she will experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are similar to the symptoms associated with other opioids, like heroin and prescription painkillers – however, they are usually less severe. They include:

  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Watery eyes and a runny nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Psychological cravings

The best way to effectively avoid Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is by tapering off Suboxone very slowly under a doctor’s supervision. Tapering typically takes place throughout one to two weeks, depending on how long the medication was being abused and what dose was being taken. The tapering schedule is determined by our clinical and medical team using a variety of methods, including urinalysis. The Addiction Severity Index-Lite (ASI-Lite), The Adjective Rating Scale for Withdrawal (ARSW), The Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and The Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS).

These are all simple evaluations that help our clinical team determine which dosage should be taken when the tapering process should conclude and which other treatment methods will prove to be the most effective.

Tapering Off Suboxone Safely

In most cases, the tapering process will begin with a small reduction, and the size of the reduction will increase as time progresses. Below is an example of a standard tapering process, beginning with a 16 mg/day dose.

  1. 16 mg – Dose is reduced by 4 mg every 1-2 weeks.
  2. 8 mg and 16 mg – Dose is reduced by 2 to 4 mg every 1-2 weeks.
  3. Under 8 mg – Dose is reduced by 2 mg every 1-2 weeks.

Get the Help You Need for Recovery

Allure Detox is dedicated to providing men and women of all ages with the most comprehensive Suboxone detox program available. Our individualized program of recovery offers a safe withdrawal process, one that paves the way for a lifetime of solid and fulfilling sobriety.